Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition now has a release date!

By Sara Veal, April 28, 2021 · Sunless Skies

We’re glad to announce that Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition will be released very soon, on 19th May. This will be a free update for all our players on PC, and will also be the first version of Sunless Skies we release on consoles!

This is a greatly enhanced edition of Sunless Skies, containing all additions and improvements we’ve made to the game since launch as well as many more completely new ones.

For the Sovereign Edition, we’ve reworked and extended the starvation mechanics. Captains will now find a range of increasingly dubious gastronomic options available to them as desperation grows.

We’ve improved character progression, with a new interface, a greater range of facets to define your past, and even a way for experienced captains to continue improving their capabilities after reaching the level cap.


There are also new trading opportunities to exploit, an exotic engine for your locomotive, better performance, greatly improved gamepad support, and literally hundreds of fixes and small improvements. If you’d like to know more, we’ve included a more detailed list below.

This ultimately took longer than we’d hoped, partly due to the considerable scope and partly because it turned out to be pretty difficult to achieve the level of performance optimisations we wanted.  But all is now well, and we’re very glad to be able to share it with you.

We think this will be by far the best version of the game for new players, and we hope the new features and many quality of life improvements will make it exciting for the veteran captains among you, too.

There is a small caveat to the release date – it might yet go back a little bit if we run into too many snags with console submission, but we think that’s unlikely.

We’ll be making the Sovereign Edition available on Windows, OS X, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch.


A Note about Save Files and Gamepads for Returning Captains

Because the Sovereign Edition includes so many changes, there will be a couple of significant oddities if you play it with a very old save file.

Specifically, if you haven’t used your save file since we released the Wayfarer update in 2019, the chart will forget which areas you’ve uncovered, and you’ll begin play near New Winchester, wherever you were before. Everything else will work fine, so you won’t lose any progress with stories. If you want to avoid this, you can just briefly load up your save in a current version of Sunless Skies before 19th May when we release the Sovereign Edition.

Also, for any GOG players who value the ability to roll back their game to older versions – once you play your save file in the Sovereign Edition it will no longer be compatible with them, so you might want to make a back up first.

Finally, the Sovereign Edition includes a much better default experience for gamepads, but it unfortunately doesn’t support rebinding for them. We anticipate that there will now be much less need for most players to rebind the controls, but we know that some players may have specific accessibility needs. There is some third party software that should still make it possible to rebind the controls in this case – if you need some support with this, please do get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help.

Feature List

For the curious, this is a slightly more detailed list of new features and changes in the Sovereign Edition – we’ll share a full and much more detailed changelog at the time of release!

  • A major rework of starvation, with various new and probably inadvisable choices about what to eat.
  • The character progression screen has been completely redesigned.
  • On level up, the winds of fate will now offer you a choice from a subset of available facets, rather than every facet available.
  • To compensate for the reduced control over your captain’s exact stats, the requirements for locomotive equipment and weapons are now substantially less demanding.
  • Also, level 20 is no longer the end of your captain’s development: while they will not be able to choose more facets, they can now continue to improve their stats.
  • Several new facets: perhaps you lost your soul (and found it again) or attended a seance.  Perhaps you have a notable hobby, or are close to rats, spies, Rubbery Men, devils?
  • You will now be informed whenever you’ve unlocked a new deed.
  • New trading opportunities.
  • Hints for prospects.
  • Many improvements to the chart.
  • A saving indicator (finally!).
  • A new exotic engine to discover, which may be of particular interest to experienced players.
  • Numerous performance improvements.
  • A rework of the saving and the save file system that should result in fewer eccentricities if your play session is interrupted by a power cut.
  • Various quality of life improvements: for example, the first officer of a given type will now be automatically appointed to the position.
  • Literally hundreds of bug fixes.
  • A UI overhaul to provide better support for controllers.  This will generally not be very noticeable to keyboard and mouse players, but should provide a much more intuitive and pleasant experience for anyone using a controller.
  • Sundry small and subtle things, which we’ll get into in the full patch notes!


Leave a reply

Sunless Skies’ enhanced Sovereign Edition out next month on PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch • Jhazoo – Jhazoo May 8, 5:02pm

[…] And on the ‘much less attractive however nonetheless extraordinarily welcome’ entrance, there’s higher efficiency, “vastly improved” gamepad help, and “actually tons of” of fixes and smaller tweaks – with a extra expansive checklist accessible in Failbetter’s announcement post. […]

Kevin May 1, 3:26am

Thanks a million for this! Can't wait!

Zakk Apr 30, 5:47pm

great news!! to see developers take care of their own masterful works is always a delight.. a work of art is alive for as long as the artist, and audience, keep showering it with love <3

drfizzzz Apr 30, 7:33am


Druidika Apr 29, 8:59am

I was trying to play the original release on a 4K display, but the font was too small and the scaling or lower resolutions the font extremely blurry. Has the UI overhaul improved support for high DPI displays?

fuzzyzergling Apr 29, 2:21am

Very nice, been waiting on this for a while!

Patch Apr 29, 12:05am

"We anticipate that there will now be much less need for most players to rebind the controls, but we know that some players may have specific accessibility needs. There is some third party software that should still make it possible to rebind the controls in this case – if you need some support with this, please do get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help." Come on, don't tell people that have accessibility issues that they should go find third party software, just add proper control rebinding if you actually care about accessibility.

Dan A Apr 28, 6:53pm

So excited,bought a PC to play Sunless Skies so this upgrade is just the cherry on the cake

uncern Apr 28, 5:45pm

aaaaaa i need it now. tbh i would love to see this as an animated series where the new captain dies every few episodes on their endeavors to achieve their ambitions, but i know trying to visualize story aspects that are supposed to be unfathomable would take away from the mystique. alas i must sit here playing Sunless Skies and Fallen London (simultaneously) while i wait for the update and visual novel.

Jonathan Giese Apr 28, 4:12pm

Let's freakin' go! I first heard of Sunless Skies around this time last year, and I have eagerly anticipated the release of Soveriegn Edition since I first heard about the planned port to Switch. May 19th can't come soon enough! I'm especially intrigued by the reduced stat requirements for engine equipment, as I recall that was one of the most persistant gripes among longtime players.

Naktigonis Apr 28, 1:05pm

It's been 84 years... At last!